Powers of Attorney
As you get older managing your financial affairs can become harder. Have you thought about who would look after your financial affairs or make decisions about your personal welfare or health care, if you were unable to do so?
If you have not taken any action and you do become mentally or physically incapacitated no one would be able to gain access to your finances or pay bills on your behalf. This could leave your finances in a mess and your family distressed at a time when they are already going through the trauma of seeing someone they love lose their capacity and independence.
The answer is to make a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), a legal document which empowers someone you nominate to act on your behalf, known as an Attorney, if you can no longer deal with your own financial and personal affairs, due to mental or physical ill health.
It is important to choose someone that you trust to act as your Attorney. You should particularly make a LPA if there are any family members you really would not trust or want to look after your
affairs, or there is any conflict or animosity in your family.
You can nominate different Attorneys to assume different responsibilities, one to deal with your financial affairs and another to deal with decisions relating to your personal welfare. You can, if you wish, add restrictions and conditions where you would not wish an Attorney to have powers to act.
You may already have in place an Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA). It is no longer possible to make changes to an existing EPA. However, it will still be recognised and is enforceable.
If you become mentally incapacitated without having a Power of Attorney in place, then your family will need to apply for a Court of Protection Deputyship, which is a much more time consuming and expensive process. See below for details of Court of Protection Deputyships.
Court of Protection Deputyships
If a family member has become mentally unable to manage their own affairs and they have not signed a Power of Attorney someone will need to apply to the Court of Protection to be appointed as their Deputy, unless their affairs are very simple. The Court of Protection will then authorise the Deputy to do certain things on behalf of the family member.
If you have a child or relative with learning difficulties who requires a Deputy to make decisions on their behalf, then please look at our special blog on this.
Details of the family member and all their assets, income, expenditure and family circumstances must be given to the Court of Protection. The application can take some time to complete although the Court of Protection can make some restricted orders more quickly for certain matters. Our specialist Solicitors can advise and help you with all aspects of this application process. Please contact us for details.
We can also assist with:-
•The appointment and discharge of deputies
•The making of gifts by incapacitated family members
•The making of statutory Wills for incapacitated family members
•The registration of Enduring Powers of Attorney
•The registration of Lasting Powers of Attorney
We are conscious of the often sensitive nature of our work. We offer a highly individual and efficient service, meeting with you in your own home and liaising where relevant with family, friends and case managers to ensure your family member’s best interests are met. Please contact us for details of how we can help.